Transfer iTunes library (2TB) to Synology NAS - Help

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timtunes

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Hello, I've seen the guidance notes here


But I'm not sure what applies to my circumstance..

My iTunes library (I have not upgraded to Apple music) is organised on a folder on an external drive. I want to transfer this to a new NAS - so the functionality is exactly the same - the current folder location is /Volumes/LaCie/Music/iTunes and I just want to point this to a folder on the NAS.

Do I follow

Performing the Move
To actually perform the move, start by going into your iTunes Advanced Preferences, and changing the iTunes Media folder path to whatever new location you want your iTunes media files to be stored in. This will usually be an external hard drive, but it can be any valid path, including a secondary hard drive or even a network share:

Then

You will be presented with a dialog box with the option to consolidate files or reorganize them. Select “Consolidate files” and click OK.

Transferring your iTunes Library

iTunes will begin the process of copying the files into their proper locations and updating these locations in the iTunes library database. Note that this process copies the tracks to the new location rather than moving them.


So the file conslidation will change the references, but how about the playlists etc?

So do I go down this route

To do this, shut down iTunes, and copy your “iTunes” folder (under your “Music” or “My Music” folder) to the new location. Keep in mind that you may still have media content located in an “iTunes Media” sub-folder and you probably don’t want to waste time copying this content over if you’ve already consolidated it to another location, so you may want to exclude that one sub-folder.

Under Moving the Library Database

My plan was to move everything to its new location as it works well with everything on the external HDD

Guidance really appreciated as I'm a bit confused
 

cjmnews

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First off, if you peruse the posts on iTunes NAS use, it is not a bed of roses. Accessing iTunes on a NAS can work, but there can be some delays and hiccups, especially if trying to sync devices with it or streaming video on slower (802.11B and 802.11G wireless) networks. There are people that got it to work, how successful they are with better networking standards, I don't know.

Second, you need to see if your NAS has an iTunes server built in or not. If it does, you can then use that iTunes server to stream the entire library to any Apple device through home sharing. If it does not, then you will need to start iTunes on a computer that is pointing to the NAS to share the library (adding more delay due to the 2 stage network connection of this setup).

Third, you need to make sure the NAS is configured properly for having redundant copies of your library and music on multiple drives. Drives fail and backing up a NAS is not easy. Best if the files are living on multiple disks, RAID 1 at a minimum (2 drives), RAID 5 would be better (3 drives or more). Be sure the NAS and your router are not exposing ports to the internet. There is a test for the latest NetUSB vulnerability by most every router by the router at https://grc.sc/854 and if you see Stealth or Closed you are fine. If you don't see Stealth or Closed, then update your router firmware to ensure your data and your network are safe. Make a folder on the NAS for the iTunes data to live in (/Music or /Music/iTunesNAS) not too long as there are limits on network paths.

Fourth, you need to make a permanent connection to the NAS drive for all iTunes devices. Based on that path and the mention of iTunes, this must be an older Mac instead of Windows. Using Finder, mount the shared drive from the NAS to your Mac. For those on Windows map a higher drive letter (M: for music) to the directory where the NAS folder lives (e.g. \\<NAS IP or NAS name>\Music\iTunesNAS).

Now that the connections are made, you should reboot to verify the connection is restored automatically. If not, set up the connection to be permanent.

On to your questions.

The Consolidate step will move the files and update the database on the location of the files. The playlists don't know about location of the files, they ask the database for it. So the playlists will in effect be getting updated automatically.

Moving the Library is an optional step. If you have only 1 system that will use iTunes, you could skip that step and just keep the library local on your Mac. If you NAS has an iTunes Server, moving the library to the NAS will enable all Apple devices in your network to see your iTunes Library.

If you just copy the iTunes folder from the external drive to the NAS /Music folder, initially the iTunes database will have the wrong path to the songs (they will appear as on the external drive). If you want to do this method (direct copy of the iTunes folder), then you must:
A. Copy the entire iTunes folder to the NAS folder for the Music.
B. Disconnect the external drive after the copy is complete
C. Hold Option and start iTunes
D. At the prompt for where your library is located, choose the iTunes Library file on the NAS,
E. When iTunes opens, try to play a track in iTunes
F. When it asks you to locate the track. Navigate to where the track is located on the NAS, and select it.
G. iTunes should ask if you want to update all the tracks, answer YES and they will all get updated to their new location on the NAS.

If Step G doesn't happen, your iTunes is really old. You will need to delete the iTunes folder from the NAS, and go through the Consolidate method to get the files located properly.
 

timtunes

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Wow! Thank you - that is amazingly detailed & helpful. Err.. not straightforward…
 

timtunes

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At the moment my iTunes is fast..is this route bound to cause pain & delays. Is a NAS just a bad idea with this size of library and i should just stick with the thunderbolt drive attached to the mac?
 

cjmnews

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You didn't say how big the library is.
You also didn't say why you wanted it on the NAS. Or how you typically use iTunes.

Typically people want an iTunes Library on a NAS to share it, in particular with AppleTV or multiple devices such as PCs, Macs, and even iOS devices. without having to leave their primary iTunes system running all the time.

Some people want the Library File (e.g. iTunes Library.itl) to be writable on the NAS that does not have an iTunes service (iTunes running locally on each computer) to enable multiple systems to create and update playlist and add music. This can cause problems when multiple people are editing the library at the same time. The last one to make changes will win, and if the other changes made by others when editing at the same time didn't show up to the last system making changes, these changes will be lost. Multi-system updates to iTunes needs to be coordinated to prevent simultaneous editing.

iTunes service running on the NAS can make multi-system changes work, as long as the changes being made don't conflict. The last one to make the conflicting change wins.

Huge libraries (20GB+) will take a very long time to transfer, and should work fine for most cases. BUT if you are trying to sync gigabytes of data to an iOS or iPod device through iTunes with this mode, there can be timeouts and interruptions requiring multiple syncs to complete the transaction. Same goes for saving huge amounts of tracks locally to a device.

There have been some success cases, for those that have relatively static libraries, or don't use iPods to sync music.
 

timtunes

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Thanks again, really appreciated

..my library is large..1.7TB

I don't need multiple users to access it only me - via Mac, IOS

I was considering moving to a NAS as part of a consolidation of my set-up, moving away from an iMac to a Macbook pro with the ability to edit iTunes not just sitting at my desk

However my number 1 concern is speed of response and it appears that 'don't fix what ain't broke' - the NAS access of files will most likely be slower than current via an attached thunderbolt connected drive.

I guess I'm stuck with a plug-in drive
 

cjmnews

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That is one of the biggest libraries I have heard of in 18 years of supporting people on this site.

You are not necessarily stuck with a plug in drive, you just have to handle the differences.

Here are the bonus reasons you should move it to NAS:
  1. Being a single user, you can be assured that only 1 person is editing the library at a time.
  2. Having it on the NAS (assuming it is RAID 1 or 3) means a failure of that thunderbolt drive will not wipe out your library (Assuming you don't have a backup).
  3. Having it on the NAS would allow you to use the library from any device in your house, so if you kept the iMac and the Macbook pro, both could use the library.
You may be able to test what the NAS is like without taking the full plunge:
  • Verify your router has a USB port on it. (Assuming you already upgraded the firmware to protect your network)
  • Verify you have a Thunderbolt to USB adapter (Thunderbolt female to USB male)
  • Shut down iTunes and eject the Thunderbolt drive.
  • Put the adapter on the Thunderbolt drive and plug it into your router.
  • Use your iMac to look for network devices and see if the drive appears (you may need to configure the router a little bit, most are ready to share a drive by default)
  • Mount the drive to your iMac
  • Hold Option and start iTunes.
  • Select the Library file on the new mounted drive.
This will be a slower version of the NAS, but is a quick way to test it out. See the performance difference. The NAS should be 20-30% faster with an iTunes Server on it.

To undo this:
  • Shutdown iTunes and dismount the network drive.
  • Unplug the Thunderbolt drive from the router
  • Remove the adapter
  • Plug the Thunderbolt drive into your iMac (I expect it to automount, manually mount it if it does not)
  • Hold Option and start iTunes
  • Select the Library on the Thunderbolt drive.
Your other option is to run the iMac with the iTunes Thunderbolt drive attached, shared to the network, and access it from the Macbook Pro.
 
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